New Delhi: Relevant laws on pollution and environment related issues have been enacted and it is up to the people to act upon them, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said on June 4. Addressing the inaugural session of the World Environment Day celebrations on the theme – “Natural Capital of India”, the minister recalled the strong legacy of India of caring for the environment. He pointed out that land, trees and rivers were all considered to be a part of divine blessings and seen as natural gifts that needed to be protected and nurtured. “Emphasising that a host of relevant resolutions, laws and bills have been passed on pollution and other environment-related issues, Harsh Vardhan said that it is up to the people to act upon them,” an official release said quoting him.
The minister said every human being can be inspired to work for the environment and small contributions can add up to a larger good. Reiterating the momentum generated by the Green Good Deeds initiative, Harsh Vardhan said the initiative is worth emulating across the world.
It has been appreciated at global fora including BRICS and international universities. Green Good Deeds, practice and behaviour are the ‘mantra’ for the future, he said.
Addressing the gathering, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme, Erik Solheim acknowledged the minister for his approach of following Green Good Deeds, which indicates bringing environment for discussions on the kitchen table. Erik Solheim said that the environment is a people-centric problem in India. Sharing the reasons why India was chosen to host the global celebrations of World Environment Day, Erik Solheim pointed out that this was because India is known to be the most populous country and has still been able to significantly reduce its poverty.
But the major reason was the shared approach that India follows to deal with its environment problems, he added. We should learn to operate and growth within the threshold limits of nature, the UNEP chief said.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Environment Secretary C K Mishra said 96 ministries have participated in the World Environment Day celebrations. He added that this is not just for the sake of participation, but because of a growing concern about environment these days. Stating that the World Environment Day on June 5 is a journey of 20 years, Mr. Mishra underlined how the years 2015 and 2016 were two important years for environment, which are about SDGs and the Paris Agreement and are very critical for analysis.